The Imminent Threat Lurking Beneath Yellowstone Park
Something terrifying has brewed within the heart of the Yellowstone super volcano. A significant increase in activity throughout different regions within the active sub-surface has alarmed scientists, including renowned American theoretical physicist Michio Keiko. Years of efforts to control the volcano’s volatility have been inconsequential, leading to heightened concerns of an eruption so severe it could potentially devastate the United States and even the entire world.
A Terrible Discovery
According to Michio Keiko, “When it blows, it could destroy the United States as we know it.” This catastrophic destruction would result from extensive damage to the surrounding area within a 100-mile radius, virtually obliterating any traces of life or civilization. He adds, “All you can do is run.”
The Supervolcano Underneath
The western United States is home to a dormant volcano with sporadic activity. This supervolcano has been slumbering for approximately seventy thousand years, but fear looms should it awaken. Buried beneath Yellowstone National Park, known for its expansive forests and wildlife, is a ticking time bomb of fiery catastrophe. The magma, though currently in a solid state, carries the potential to cause mass devastation should it revert back to liquid form and rise to the earth’s surface.
The Unsettling Probability of an Eruption
Observations by volcanologists since 1923 noted an alarming rate of ground elevation in Yellowstone due to magma pressure since 2004. Though the ground has sunk back, the previously slow and steady rise has caused worry of a potential super eruption. Dr. Steve Anderson, professor of earth sciences and volcanologist at the University of Northern Colorado, expresses concern over this shift, stating, “We don’t know for sure what would happen.” Even though projections of the outcome vary, the fact remained that the world could be unprepared for such an event.
Shaking Signs & Inconclusive Clues
Every year, Yellowstone experiences between one to three thousand earthquakes, many of them too minor to be felt by visitors. However, these seismic activities give insight into the magma flow and aid scientists in mapping the potential eruption. Despite the increase in seismic activities, most scientists still consider the movements within the magma chamber not dangerous at the moment.
The Yellowstone supervolcano has witnessed three massive eruptions in the last 2.1 million years. Evidence from these eruptions reveals the power and magnitude of the supervolcano’s explosive capabilities and the extensive damage it can cause. Each eruption resulted in a broad expanse of land being covered in ash, gas, and magma debris, causing widespread destruction.
The Catastrophic Aftermath of An Eruption
Yellowstone last erupted violently approximately 640,000 years ago. The scale was so grand that it remains visible to this day across the park and surrounding areas. The eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 pales in comparison to the devastation Yellowstone witnessed. Thousands of meters of hot ash, molten rock, and poisonous gases were ejected into the sky, covering a third of the continent in darkness, and destroying the landscape.
Signs Right Above The Surface
Yellowstone Caldera remains an arresting reminder of past eruptions. Even the last witnessed lava flow in Yellowstone, about 70,000 years ago, can be seen today in the form of different rock layers along the park’s trails. As scientists try to anticipate and decode signs for the next potential eruption, the question of ‘when’ haunts them.
Prepared For Armageddon?
The probability of a supervolcano eruption, regardless of uncertainty, cannot be denied. This fact warrants a realistic preparation for the worst. So, what does happen following a supervolcano eruption? If past eruptions and current studies are to be taken into account, the result would be massive and far-reaching: an eruption plume and volcanic ash carried by the wind affecting not just the United States but causing global cooling, loss of life, and large-scale destruction to habitats and buildings.
Learning From the Supervolcano’s Past
Yellowstone is not the only supervolcano in existence. History records 47 super eruptions across the globe. Most recent was 26,000 years ago in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, and the most significant was the Toba eruption approximately 74,000 years ago. This event led to a global winter that endangered early human life. An eruption of a supervolcano refers to an event so potent that its effect is felt worldwide.
The Blunt Reality
A super eruption would result in immense destruction, including potentially causing famines due to blocked sunlight and the subsequent cooling effect of the climate. Even minor volcanic eruptions caused severe consequences, placing the effect of supervolcano eruptions in a shocking light.
Despite the cataclysmic potential, scientists and geologists around the globe persist in studying supervolcanoes in the hope of predicting and preparing for the next big eruption. For now, all one can do is stay informed, prepared, and in awe of the tremendous power of Planet Earth.